Rumor: Bot farming used to boost App Store ranking, Apple warns of punishment

A Touch Arcade forum user is making allegations that a company is offering to boost the ranking of free App Store apps using bots. According to "walterkaman," the unnamed company will set up automated, repeated downloads of a client's app in order to push it into Apple's Top Free charts. A representative from the shady ad company pointed out eight games on the Top 25 Free chart that were promoted in this manner, walterkaman said.

The company was not named, and the forum user's story remains unverified. However, Apple is definitely upset about some kind of chart manipulation on the App Store. In a brief update on the Apple Developer site, the company warned developers against using ad services that guarantee placement. "Even if you are not personally engaged in manipulating App Store chart rankings or user reviews, employing services that do so on your behalf may result in the loss of your Apple Developer Program membership."